Brazilian goalkeeper Bruno Fernandes de Souza has agreed to a two-year deal with second-tier club Boa Esporte, the team announced Monday, a month after he was released from jail for ordering the torture and murder of his ex-girlfriend, who also was the mother of his child.
Known to his fans by just his first name, Bruno is a popular soccer figure in Brazil and previously played for Flamengo and Atletico Mineiro. He was allowed to walk from prison last month, 15 years before his sentence is up, while his attorneys appeal his case. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2013 after confessing to his role in the 2010 murder of 25-year-old Eliza Samudio, a former model once linked to soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
When Samudio became pregnant with Bruno’s child and sought financial support from the soccer star, he conspired with friends to have her kidnapped and held in a shed in Belo Horizonte, where she was tortured and strangled to death. On Bruno’s orders, the assailants then disposed of Samudio’s body by feeding her to his dogs.
“This is a barbaric crime,” former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff said in 2010, according to The Guardian, following Bruno’s arrest. “The whole of Brazil is disgusted by such a barbaric and perverse crime.”
Bruno’s lawyers obtained his release on a habeas corpus after the slow-moving Brazilian courts failed to act on his appeal. Video footage allegedly captured Bruno celebrating his freedom by drinking champagne with friends.
The signing struck a nerve with Brazilian fans and women’s rights groups, who viewed the leniency offered a soccer star as a disturbing sign of the country’s misogynistic culture.